Staying Ahead of Sensor Failure in Extreme Environments

Although materials used in the construction of components for modern aircraft are built for durability, the extreme conditions sometimes imposed on them create the potential for part failure. Thus the need for increasingly sophisticated systems to monitor the health of the machines and their parts.

As the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health reported in a publication called “Overview of Fiber Optic Sensor Technologies for Strain/Temperature Sensing Applications in Composite Materials,” the threat of material failure “necessitates the requirement for non-destructive structural health monitoring techniques throughout the lifetime of the composite structural part.”

This report examines the characteristics of fiber optics, which are low-cost and can be embedded in materials and continue to send information while monitoring strain and temperature in extreme conditions in issues such as such as bend loading in aircraft wings.

The Sikorsky Entrepreneurial Challenge is looking to reward advances in sensors that remain robust in extreme operational temperature range, wet, high vibration while measuring strain, vibration, temperature and other modalities. Learn more about the E-Challenge guidelines here.